Gering girls finish GNAC tourney in 5th place
     2013-04-11      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Brian Copsey/for the Citizen - Gering senior Jackie Hayden strides toward the play for a fierce offensive kick during last week’s semi-final action at the GNAC tournament in Kearney. The Lady Bulldogs defeated Lexington 4-1. 
That the Gering girls’ soccer team finished fifth in the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament last weekend in Kearney should say something about the strength of the mixture of Class A and B teams in the GNAC this season.
More important than their final placement in the tournament, at Kearney’s Baldwin Fields, is the fact that the Bulldogs, after losing their opening match in a shoot-out to Norfolk on Friday, bounced back to win both their consolation matches.
And most important, Gering coach Lisa Freeburg said, is that the Bulldogs got better, especially in first-half execution.
“On Saturday, we did a lot better job of coming out in the first half,” Freeburg said of the Bulldogs’ 4-1 semifinal win over Lexington and their 2-0 victory for fifth over Columbus. “That is something we have been working on, so that was good to see.”
Gering’s GNAC play began with a slow first half against Norfolk, which scored the only goal before halftime. The Bulldogs knotted the score on Jackie Hayden’s goal off a free-kick assist from Kelsea Prieels in the 63rd minute.
The Panthers regained the lead, but Gering reknotted the score with five minutes left when Shayla Garetto scored on an unassisted goal.
The match eventually went into a shoot-out, in which Alexa Anderson and Brooke Satur scored for the Bulldogs, but Norfolk won the shoot-out and game, both by 3-2 counts.
A good night’s rest gave Gering plenty of fuel for Saturday, with the Bulldogs coming out against Lexington with three first-half goals. Josie Thompson scored in the sixth minute on an unassisted goal, then Garetto followed just three minutes later on a score assisted by Thompson.
Anderson scored unassisted in the 34th minute in giving Gering its 3-0 halftime lead. Lexington scored six minutes into the second half, but Kaylee Spreier closed out the Bulldogs’ scoring in the 67th minute on a kick assisted by Morgan Smith.
In the fifth-place match, Gering scored both its goals in the first half. Anderson received Prieels’ corner kick in the 19th minute and scored on a header for the Bulldogs’ first goal. Thompson then scored just two minutes later, enough for Gering (8-3) to ride out the remaining 59 minutes for the shutout win.
Gering goalkeeper Maggie Martin five shots on goal against Lexington and 10 against Columbus, giving her 23 saves on 29 opponent shots for the tournament.
“We got the opportunity to play to teams that we don’t normally get to play, so that is always good,” Freeburg said.
Gering was to play at Sterling, Colo., on Tuesday, but the winter storm that canceled school at Gering on Tuesday put that match on hold. The schools were able to reschedule the match for April 25.
So the Bulldogs will prepare to play Scottsbluff on Monday at the Dr. Allan C. Landers Memorial Soccer Complex, starting at 5 p.m. Gering then quickly turns around and travels to Torrington on Tuesday.

Scottsbluff teams
finish seventh

Both Scottsbluff teams lost their first two matches before scoring seventh-place victories Saturday, with the Bearcat boys downing Gering 3-1 in the teams’ final game.

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